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Friday, 10 March 2017

Four children functioning like 'zombies' rescued from 'feral and dangerous' house

Written by Pat Hurst

Four children were rescued by police from a filthy house with walls smeared with excrement and used nappies strewn across bare floors.

The youngsters, all under five, lived in "feral and dangerous" conditions in the property in Leyland, Lancashire.

Their parents each admitted four counts of child neglect when they appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday.

When shocked police rescued the children by chance, they were described as functioning like "zombies" and so thirsty and hungry that officers went to buy them food because there was nothing in the kitchen.

Officers found a baby was in a bouncer two feet away from a halogen heater, naked except for a nappy.

A screaming girl was trapped under a bed frame in a room full of faeces and flies, police said. Two toddlers were in a bedroom with excrement smeared on walls, soiled bedding and exposed carpet rods.

The parents cannot be named to protect the identity of the vulnerable children.

The father, aged 23, was jailed for 14 months, while the mother, 29, also received a 14-month jail sentence but this was suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation requirement.

However, it appears the children were put back in the care of the parents after the discovery by police and involvement of the authorities on October 25 2015.

Police attended the house by chance looking for someone else in relation to an unconnected matter.

But when officers entered they were left retching by an overpowering stench.

They found the children, dirty, disheveled and wearing only nappies or T-shirts, living in the disgusting conditions.

Detective Constable Lee Bradshaw-Wood, of Lancashire Police, said: "These people displayed an abject failure to provide basic care for such young, vulnerable children.

"The investigation established the feral and dangerous conditions that these poor children were living in.

"The living accommodation was disgusting and unsafe and the children were dirty and their clothing was inadequate. No child should have to live in those conditions.

"We are committed to working, along with our partner agencies, to ensure that all children in Lancashire are kept safe from harm.

"If anyone has concerns around the safety of a child or young person, they should contact us or Lancashire Social Services. Information can also be passed anonymously via the NSPCC."

Amanda Hatton, director of children's services, Lancashire County Council, said: "The family were referred to the local authority for the first time when the police initially visited the property.

"At that point we secured placements for the children outside the family home.

"We put this matter before a Family Court and recommended that the children be looked after away from the family home with extended family as their permanent placement.

"However, the Family Court did not agree with this position and the children were placed back in the care of their parents with the local authority undertaking close monitoring of the case.

"We are now working with extended family members to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of the children."

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